The new website, MySoberRoomate.com, launched this summer to help match people in drug and alcohol recovery or people choosing to live sober, with a like-minded, sober roommate.
Creator of My Sober Roommate, Jesse Sandler, said he was motivated to curate an outlet to help his clients move out of their toxic living environments. As an addiction therapist, Sandler said when he would meet with his clients and search together on the internet for a website like this, there was nothing out there. He decided to create MSR, which launched June 5 and is available nationwide.
“As of now we have about a 1000 people on the website, which is pretty cool,” Sandler said. “We are seeing that mostly the demographic is people from the 18-30 and the 40 plus age range.”
After creating a profile on MSR, users will answer a few questions such as gender, age, length of sobriety and desired living location, along with a short about me and photos. From here, users are able to message other people in the area through the website.
“It’s important for someone in recovery to live with a sober roommate because it helps you stay on track and accountable,” said Sandler. “In the beginning stages of recovery, living alone is potentially dangerous because isolation sort of breeds addiction. The more you feel alone, the more likely you are to fall back into old patterns.”
Texas State student and Youth Recovery Coordinator at Hays Caldwell Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Tayler McGill, has been in recovery for 29 months. McGill said people in recovery want roommates who are going to support them.
“I think (MSR) is awesome. It’s so important because you want someone that shares the same values as you do,” said McGill. “You want someone who is really going to balance you and keep you stable.”
McGill was motivated to move home because her friends at Texas State partied. It was harder to find a roommate who shared the same values, she said.
“For me personally, I was at Texas State and had new roommates who would influence me to do bad things – to use drugs, party, etcetera. For someone who is in recovery and trying to stay sober, they want roommates who are going to help them out,” said McGill. “They won’t have to feel tempted to do negative things, to go to parties. You know, the college norm. But that doesn’t have to be the college cliché.”
Currently, McGill is working with the youth, helping them share their stories with others and make a difference. McGill said it is far more common than people realize for young people to be in recovery.
“For incoming freshman, I think it would be awesome to be paired with someone who is like-minded, and someone that says ‘hey, I’m in recovery too, and it’s ok’,” said McGill.
Director of the intensive outpatient program at the addiction treatment center, Right Step in San Marcos, Robert Kidd, said the only other option for living with sober roommates are sober living houses, and there are only two in San Marcos. Kidd said this has created a problem for the people in recovery he works with.
“I struggle with it now because a quarter of my clientele are university students. When you’re young, the biggest thing is being able to accept the fact that you have an addiction, but two, the environment,” Kidd said. “You’ve got to change everything, from people, places to things. But you can’t change college. It’s really difficult for them to find places to live because they are going to college and all of their roommates are using or partying on the weekends, and it’s a really unsafe environment for them to live in. (MSR) is monumental. Even for graduate students.”
MSR is free service that allows users to find a room, or fill a room, anonymously. The information inputted into the site will never be shared with outside parties. As MSR is a growing website, some areas may not be listed. Users or inquirers may contact them with questions or request to add a new area onto the site at, holler@MySoberRoommate.com.